Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has ordered today flags flown at half-mast on all federal buildings, including the Peace Tower on Parliament in Ottawa, after the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found at the Kamloops Industrial School, which was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school
In a tweet, Trudeau said the move is “to honour the 215 children whose lives were taken at the former Kamloops residential school and all Indigenous children who never made it home, the survivors, and their families”.
“I have asked that the Peace Tower flag and flags on all federal buildings be flown at half-mast.” Added the 23 Canadian Prime Minister.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said city flags would stay lowered for nine days — 215 hours — to represent each life. Informed in a tweet.
The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery in a statement on Thursday, saying the remains were found after working with a “ground penetrating radar specialist” to confirm the mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
The Kamloops school was opened, under Roman Catholic administration, in 1890. Enrolment peaked in the early 1950s at 500. In 1969, the Canadian government took over the administration, which no longer provided any classes and operated it as residence for students attending local day schools until 1978, when the residence was closed.
The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has records of at least 51 children dying at the school between 1915 and 1963.
A report by the same Commission said at least 3,200 children had died in the country, amid abuse and neglect, and it said it had reports of at least 51 deaths at the Kamloops school alone between 1915 and 1963.
According to census data, more than 52 percent of Canadian children in foster care in 2016 were Indigenous, while Indigenous children made up only 7.7 percent of the country’s total population. Reported Aljazeera.